The Wilton Police Department is running short of three officers in the patrol division.
The department is supposed to have 45 officers and brass, and is down to 42 since the retirement of former Chief Robert Crosby, the records officer, and as of July 27, Lt. Stephan Brennan.
Complicating the replacement of officers is the state’s budget mess.
“We are waiting to see what the ramifications of the state budget mean for the town budget and will adjust accordingly. We are working with the Police Commission and the first selectman on this,” said Chief John Lynch, explaining the predicament.
The department is in the process of establishing a list of prospective candidates to fill two of those positions, Lynch said. ”We have reserved two seats in the October police academy class,” he said.
However, it takes nearly a year to fill a vacant police officer position. It takes approximately six months of academy training and then three months of in-house training with a Wilton Police field training officer.
“By the time we complete the hiring process and add the training time it takes one year,” Lynch said.
That’s not the only hangup. “We are also looking for certified officers as well, which saves the department the extensive training time,” he said.
Adding conflict to the problem is that the final state budget may affect the overall bottom line in Wilton, Lynch said.
“We will know what the outcome is before we commit to hiring any new officers. We may need to make adjustments based upon the final budget numbers,” the chief said earlier this summer.